Moka Express

In my quest to find a great replacement for my afternoon cup of coffee, having ditched the pod machines and spent a solid year tuning and enjoying my pour over game, Santa was kind enough to bring me a moka pot for Christmas this year.

And I’ve been having a great, well-caffeinated time learning to use it.

As I understand it, the moka pot is a bit old fashioned. Originating in Italy, it was a popular home brewing gadget after the Second World War but prior to the proliferation of the drip machine.

A three part contraption, the funnel-filter in the middle is filled with ground coffee and as the water boils in the bottom chamber it pressure-rises through and up, percolating and filling the upper chamber with espresso-like coffee.

The result is not a true espresso, though it’s close. An yet it’s much stronger than drip coffee.

I’ve been mixing hot-to-boiling water into mine at a ratio of roughly 1 part moka brew to 2 parts water, and the result is an almost-Americano-like drink that is full of flavour and body in a way that even my best drip coffee pour overs have trouble achieving.

About a scoop and a half of ground coffee fills the filter and less than ten minutes on my simmer burner has a steaming cup of better-than-average-joe in my mug and ready to fuel the afternoon office push of video meetings and budget plotting and government paperwork.

None of this is push button, but between my pour overs (which are cheap, fast, and simple) and my moka pot americanos (which are slower, use a bit more raw ingredients, but overall tastier) I think I’m narrowing in on some old fashioned solutions to a modern problem: single serve simple afternoon coffee for the work-from-home desk jockey.

At the end of the day, my whole scheme here is one of reducing the number of plastic, disposable pods I formerly used to create mediocre (and relatively expensive) afternoon cups. Pour overs and moka pots are about exploring something quick and easy in the coffee brewing effort.

And overall I’m rating this adventure quite high.

Also… the Coffee Singularity Has Arrived

I asked ChatGTP how to make coffee with a moka pot. Here’s it’s answer:

A Moka pot, also known as a stovetop espresso maker, is a simple and traditional way of making coffee. Here’s the basic process for using a Moka pot to make coffee:

  1. Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka pot with cold water, up to the level of the pressure valve.
  2. Add ground coffee to the metal filter basket in the middle chamber, tamping it down lightly.
  3. Assemble the Moka pot by placing the middle chamber with the coffee and filter basket on top of the bottom chamber with the water. Make sure the gasket and filter plate are properly in place.
  4. Place the Moka pot on the stovetop over medium heat. Do not use high heat or let the water boil.
  5. As the water in the bottom chamber heats up, it will begin to create pressure, forcing the water through the coffee and into the top chamber. Once the coffee has started to fill the top chamber, you can hear a gurgling noise, at this point you can remove it from the heat to prevent the coffee from getting burned.
  6. Once all the water has passed through the coffee, the pot will make a distinctive “hissing” sound, indicating that the coffee is ready. Carefully pour the coffee into cups, being careful not to burn yourself on the steam or hot metal.

Note that, Moka pot often extract a strong coffee with a bold, rich flavor and a thick crema on top. Also remember, to clean the pot after each use, to ensure that you’ll always get the best flavor out of your coffee.

Clock Works

As my 101 year old grandmother transitions between living situations, she found herself giving away some of her most carefully curated possessions.

At some point in the last forty-six years I (apparently, though unintentionally) impressed upon her that my (genuine) interest in her cuckoo clock, the same clock that hung on the wall of her house for most of my childhood, the same clock that my (late) grandfather would wind daily by pulling the chains down to the floor each night, the same clock that would fascinate us with it’s animations when we visited, that such a clock should end up on my wall some day.

That day was today.

I am feeling a little emotional and humbled, to be honest.

As my parents and relatives assisted with the job of packing up her room and sorting out what needs to move to the next place, my grandmother firmly asserted that the clock was to go to me.

So, suddenly there I was, with something of a family heirloom in a heap on my kitchen table after a short delivery visit by my folks.

As it turns out, my grandmother got tired of the tick-tocking and hourly cuckoos about fifteen years ago, so the beautiful beast has done little more than hung lifeless on her wall as a decoration for that whole time.

I hung it up, set it up, reset it all, and … the ticking doesn’t tock as well as it used to.

The pendulum ticks and tocks for a few seconds… or a few minutes… as long as eight minutes once, keeping accurate time for a fraction of an hour, but then tick-tock-tick… tick…. tick… silence.

I opened it up to see if there was something obviously wrong, but clock works are not my specialty (nor, if I’m being completely honest, a thing that I have anything other than a passing experience) in diagnosing or fixing.

So, for the moment, the family clock is hanging decoration-like on my wall looking sharp and elegant and like it belongs there. But thus starts an adventure to restore it to the glory of the 70s and 80s and those days I remember from my youth, and to bring back the ticks, tocks and maybe even a cuckoo or two.